Trad-Plus (Chris Pandolfi) & Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters 1.31.14

Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Carly Marthis

As the 9:00 PM hour came and went, the initial wave of Stringdusters fans began arriving at Armoury in Lower Downtown Denver. This handful of super fans, referred to as the "Jamily," turned out early to get the party started. Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall loaded in and set up their gear on stage, while mingling with some of their Colorado friends and family. The venue was filling in nicely as Andy and Chris made their rounds doling out hugs and smiles as they went. Around 10:30 PM Andy made his way to the stage to kick off his solo dobro/lap steel set. Through forty five minutes, Andy displayed incredible musicianship in esoteric fashion, creating layers. Bass notes fell into place under fantastic strumming rhythm intertwined with sliding melodies. The beauty of Andy's output can not be overstated. Songs like "Shady Grove," "The House of The Rising Sun" and the Stringdusters' "Road to Boulder," made appearances. The set was stripped down, exposing a masterful solo performance to kick off the evening!

Around 11:30 PM, Chris took the stage as Trad-Plus, utilizing his laptop to establish the initial layers of his musical vision. Tasteful tracks played host to subtle nuances such as familiar samples and even the sound of a needle on a record. Once the pieces were in place, Pandolfi stepped up with his banjo, be it acoustic or electric. Interesting effects and tones contributed to the danceable feel of the set. At times the banjo sounded like a banjo, while at other points it took on the role of a sort of synthesizer, tearing through a variety of sounds per Chris' direction. Though Trad-Plus is in its infancy, the project reflected solid intuition from Pandolfi, as well as improvement and tightening from the first performance just weeks prior.

Andy stepped up to join Chris for a few songs to close out the evening and what a pleasure it was. Not only was it interesting to hear two of The Infamous Stringdusters so far out of the bluegrass realm, but also experimenting with the new sonic playground that Chris had created. Massive sliding riffs slowed only to make way for Chris' rebuttal on what sounded like an electric guitar, steel drums, or keys. They leaned towards one and other, trading licks and smiles before closing the show with The Stringdusters' "Fork In The Road." The fans responded with overwhelming appreciation, and though the show was over, the party continued. As folks made their way to the door, they collected their free MusicMarauders show poster as a thank you for supporting the event. Though it snowed and the roads were bad, strong pre-sales and a dedicated fanbase helped to ensure the success of MusicMarauders' first independently promoted show!

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